[Sri Lanka 2014]: Snippets of Sri Lanka – Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinuing on from Part 1 of my trip. From Kandy, I took a day trip out to Nuwara Eliya where all the tea plantations are. Nuwara Eliya has a cooler climate than other areas of Sri Lanka because it’s up in the hills. Even Kandy was cooler than Colombo. It was a semi-cloudy day, which actually made it quite cold later in the day but thankfully it didn’t bucket down with rain…much.

The tea plantations were my must-go on my list, and suffice to say, they definitely lived up to my expectations. The entire place was absolutely beautiful!

Rambuda Falls - en route to Nuwara Eliya
Rambuda Falls – en route to Nuwara Eliya

We stopped off to see the Rambuda falls on the way up which was really impressive! It had rained the night before so the water was rushing down the rocks. My driver said if there isn’t much rain, there’s actually not much of a waterfall.

The actual waterfall is quite big actually. I guess I didn’t really expect for there to be a waterfall in Sri Lanka. The tiny path was big enough for only one person so we encountered a bit of traffic on the way back with 3 other people!

Mackwoods tea plantation
Mackwoods tea plantation

There’s quite a few tea plantations, but we went to Mackwoods. My driver said Mackwoods has the best quality tea out of all of them. It was so interesting learning about the process of drying the tea leaves and which part of the tea leaf plant is actually used. The tips of the leaf spray is used for silver needle tea, and the top 2-3 leaves are used for tea. The rest of the leaves aren’t actually!

A very nice young girl showed me around the plantation and its factory. Although she had only been there a few months, she knew the information well and could answer most of my questions. She was so bubbly and smiley! She also bowed and thanked me profusely for holding the door open for her…

Nuwara Eliya colonial estates
Nuwara Eliya colonial estates

After driving down from the tea plantation, we walked around Nuwara Eliya to get some lunch as well. We went to a hole-in-wall eatery where I was literally the only non-local, and only female actually! It was great. We had dosai and curry, and ate with our hands. I sent a picture to my friend who was worried about dysentry upon seeing the photo but I felt fine throughout the trip so I guess I have a strong stomach!

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - Kandy
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – Kandy
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - Kandy
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – Kandy

I had time to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is located back in Kandy. It’s said that the tooth relic from the Buddha resides here after being moved from various places across the world and within Sri Lanka itself. I’m not Buddhist and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure *what* I was looking for. I got to the shrine, but I didn’t really spot anything. Or maybe I did and I hadn’t realised it. Nevertheless, I did quite enjoy just walking around the grounds looking at the relics and architecture. There was also an area that documented the history of the Buddha which was interesting to read.

We left Kandy en route to Dambulla the following morning. Along the way, we stopped off at a Hindu temple, and a Buddhist temple (there’s A LOT of temples in Sri Lanka!). I also spotted some boiled corn on the roadside, so yet again, we stopped =P The corn is prepared simply by boiling it then swishing it in a saltwater solution. The corn itself is really different to what we have in Perth. Instead of juicy kernels that burst in your mouth, the kernels were pretty hard. It reminded me of dried corn, and there wasn’t really a characteristic corn taste.

Street-side boiled corn
Street-side boiled corn

The stall owner’s young son seemed to enjoy it though! He was running about with his corn laughing and smiling, before settling into the hammock. I love how something so simple can make their eyes shine with happiness.

Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla cave temple

Our next destination was Dambulla cave temple. As the name indicates, the temple and the individual rooms of worship are actually within rock faces so it’s like a cave. Each room has paintings and scriptures in it, and it’s actually quite amazing to think of how people were able to even form these back in the day.

After an arduous climb up a billion (at least it felt like that!) stairs, I finally reached this. I actually wasn’t exceptionally impressed with this attraction. I’m not sure if I was expecting a HUGE area, or if I just didn’t know what I was looking at because there were no guides/info booklets but I just walked around but not really understanding what the rooms signified. I lamented this to AS and she agreed she found this a little underwhelming.

Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla cave temple

The view from the top was beautiful though, albeit extremely windy! I could barely move against the wind but it was so nice to sit there to cool down after my climb up. I sat on a nice rock slope and just relaxed and enjoyed the view. Such peace and quiet…before my descent down those billion steps =.=’

Monkeys at Dambulla cave temple
Monkeys at Dambulla cave temple

Can you spot the baby monkey? It’s so cute! They were everywhere!

After snacking on foods, and fresh fruit, I wasn’t actually very hungry for dinner. Plus, the owner of the place I was staying at prepared a massive cup of papaya juice, plus other fresh fruits for me when I arrived! So we just found a light dinner, but that’s when I discovered my favourite food in Sri Lanka – egg hoppers!

Egg hoppers
Egg hoppers

These were AMAZING! You can get hoppers with the egg, but being the egg-obsessed girl I am, I definitely needed to try this. Crispy on the outside, with gooey egg, smothered with curry/chilli. Dinner is served =D Seriously, I loved these so much that I actually bought hopper flour and a hopper dish to make them in! Can’t wait for our dimsum dollies’ curry night where we make this and assorted curries!

Thanks for reading! ^^ Stay tuned for the final instalment of my Sri Lanka adventures!

In case you’ve missed it, here’s Part 1!

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